“Ten Years is Enough:” Mother of Canadian Resident Imprisoned in Iran Seeks Pardon
The mother of Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident imprisoned in Iran since 2008, sent a letter to Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi on February 1, 2019, requesting that Malekpour be included in a mass pardon of prisoners that may happen in March.
“Saeed does not have a father so I guess I am his father and mother,” wrote Akram Esmailzadeh. “He, after God, is the one I depend on and yet for the past ten years he has been in the bowels of a prison instead of his mother’s arms.”
“Whatever crime he may have committed… ten years is enough,” she said.
Esmailzadeh added: “You claim to be a public defender. Give him a taste of Islamic mercy now that the honorable judiciary chief has promised an unprecedented general amnesty. Agree to recommending his name to the Pardoning Committee so that his name would be added to the amnesty list on the 40th anniversary of the revolution.”
Arrested in 2008 by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during a visit to Iran in 2008, Malekpour is serving a life sentence for allegedly creating an online pornographic network.
The 43-year-old computer programmer and web developer was charged with “insulting the sacred” and sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in September 2010. Upon appeal the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in August 2013.
“Think about a mother with failing feet who needs her son’s help,” Esmailzadeh wrote. “Every moment of his absence has felt life a year and in all these years he has not been granted any furlough.”
Furlough, temporary leave typically granted to prisoners in Iran for a variety of familial, holiday, and medical reasons, is routinely denied to political prisoners as a form of additional punishment.
“I am convinced that Islamic mercy is different than this,” said Esmailzadeh in her letter addressing the Tehran prosecutor. “As a mother, I am expecting real Islamic mercy from you and the state, considering that all the authorities have confirmed my son’s good behavior in prison.”
On February 4, 2019, Judiciary Chief Sadegh Larijani confirmed earlier reports of a general amnesty and said Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei would pardon 50,000 prisoners on February 11 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Malekpour’s mother concluded her letter to the prosecutor by writing, “I am asking you to grant my son furlough and pardon him after 10 years. Please take the steps you see fit to make it happen and you will always be in my prayers.”
On October 19, 2018, Malekpour was rushed from Tehran’s Evin Prison to a hospital after experiencing what was “later diagnosed by hospital staff as a heart attack,” his sister, Maryam Malekpour, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) at the time.
“Saeed Malekpour has already spent the prime of his life in an Iranian prison where he has developed serious medical issues,” said CHRI’s Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi in an October 2018 press release.
“This peaceful, young man should be immediately released so that his medical problems can be addressed,” said Ghaemi.